Dry Mouth #DryJanuary

In a society centred around alcohol consumption, it’s crucial to highlight the health risks of excessive drinking. While most are aware of immediate effects like impaired judgment, the impact on oral health, specifically dry mouth (xerostomia), is often overlooked. This blog explores the dangers of drinking in relation to dry mouth and its implications for oral health.

Dry mouth, a lack of saliva production, is vital for oral health, neutralizing acids, and preventing bacterial growth. Alcohol, a natural diuretic, leads to dehydration, reducing saliva production and impacting the salivary glands, creating an environment conducive to dental problems.

Dangers of Dry Mouth:

Increased Cavities: Insufficient saliva raises the risk of tooth decay.

Gum Disease: Dry mouth increases the risk of gum disease.

Bad Breath: Dry mouth allows odor-causing elements to persist, resulting in chronic bad breath.

Difficulty in Chewing and Swallowing: Saliva’s lubrication aids in these processes, and dry mouth can make them uncomfortable.

Preventive Measures:

Hydration: Alternating alcoholic drinks with water helps maintain fluid levels.

Sugar-Free Gum or Lozenges: Stimulate saliva production for dry mouth relief.

Oral Hygiene: Regular brushing and flossing minimize the risk of cavities and gum disease.

While enjoying an occasional drink is common, it’s essential to be mindful of its potential impact on oral health. Dry mouth, a consequence of excessive alcohol consumption, can lead to dental problems. Understanding the link between drinking and dry mouth allows individuals to take proactive measures for oral health. Moderation and hydration are key to safeguarding overall health and a radiant smile.

Root planning / curettage

What is gum disease?

Gum disease is a complex condition affecting the gums and bone supporting your teeth. Several factors contribute to it, including family history, smoking and chronic diseases such as diabetes.

It begins with plaque, a soft, sticky substance, that builds up on your teeth. Plaque is mostly made up of bacteria, which feed on sugar from food and drink. Tartar, formed by hardened plaque, helps plaque to gather and makes it harder to remove.

If plaque is allowed to build up, the bacteria in it can make your gums sore and infected; they will look red and puffy and hey will probably bleed when you brush your teeth.

The gum will then start to become detached from the tooth, forming ‘pockets’ in which plaque can gather – and bone supporting the tooth will slowly be lost. Because this process is usually painless, it can become very bad without you noticing.

If left unchecked, gum disease will lead to the loss of teeth.

What is root planing / curettage?

Root planing is a way of helping to halt gum disease. It involves ‘deep’ scaling, to clean parts of teeth below the gumline, which cannot be reached with a toothbrush. Root planing cleans out the pockets, and removes plaque and tartar from the tooth roots.

What does the dentist or dental hygienist do?

Dentist and hygienist use two types of instrument for root planing:

  • Hand scalers come in different sizes and shapes to reach different parts of the teeth. This is why you will see the dentist or hygienist changing instruments quite often.
  • Electric scalers use a tip that vibrates very fast in a stream of water. The water is removed from your mouth using a small suction device. A hand scaler is also used along with an electric scaler, to check whether the roots are completely clean.

After a tooth has been root planed, the pocket should shrink, making the gum sit closer to the tooth. You then need to be especially careful about cleaning the teeth above the gumline. Root planing will probably need to be repeated regularly.

Root planing usually takes longer than a normal scale and polish, and is often done under a local anaesthetic. Your mouth might be treated in sections, at more than one visit.

Points to remember:

  • Root planing can help stop gum disease becoming worse and prevent tooth loss
  • Like scaling and polishing, root planing helps you to keep your teeth and gums clean at home.
  • To reduce the risk of your gum disease progressing, do not smoke, and eat a healthy, balanced diet.
  • Dentists and dental hygienists cannot keep your moth healthy by themselves. Your own cleaning is the key.

Speak to your local Clear Dental Practice to learn more.

Why do I need to brush my teeth?

Brushing helps prevent tooth decay

Dental plaque is a soft, sticky substance that builds up on your teeth. It is mostly made up of bacteria, which feed on sugar from food and drink, producing acids as a waste product. The acids attack the teeth by dissolving the minerals in the tooth surface. If this happens too often, tooth decay results. For this reason, you shouldn’t have sugary foods and / or drinks too often during the day.

Minerals in saliva can mend the teeth. If fluoride is present in the mouth, it helps teeth to repair themselves. Fluoride also makes bacteria less able to produce acid.

To remove plaque and help teeth to mend themselves, you need to brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.

Brushing helps prevent gum disease

You also need to brush to stop plaque damaging your gums. If plaque is allowed to build up, the bacteria in it can make your gums sore and infected. Painless gum pockets will start to form around the teeth and bone supporting the teeth will slowly be lost. If left unchecked, gum disease will lead to the loss of teeth.

How should I brush?

  • Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day with a soft-to-medium brush and fluoride toothpaste. Replace the brush when the bristles get out of shape.
  • Put the bristles at the join between teeth and gums, pointing towards the gums, and brush using short circular movements.
  • Brush all round every tooth, carefully making sure you can feel the brush on your gums.
  • Don’t use too much force – give your teeth and gums a gentle rub.
  • It is recommended that people spend at least two minutes brushing their teeth – why not time yourself?
  • An electric powered toothbrush may be found easier to use and more effective than a manual brush.
  • After brushing you should spit out the toothpaste – but do not rinse, as this lessens the effect of the fluoride.
  • Small children should only use a small, pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. They cannot brush properly until they are at least six or seven, so an adult should help them brush their teeth. One way is to stand behind the child and tilt their head back so all teeth can be seen and reached.

Speak to your local Clear Dental Practice to learn more about brushing your teeth.